President C. Peter Magrath and Academy of Korean Studies President ChungKil Chung sign agreements linking the two schools. Binghamton University will receive a five-year, $1 million grant from the Academy of Korean Studies that will help support research and education in Korean studies.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
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Binghamton University has become just the second East Coast school to receive the prestigious Overseas Leading University Program for Korean Studies (OLUPKS) Grant of the Academy of Korean Studies.
Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath and Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) President ChungKil Chung signed an agreement for the five-year, $1 million grant at a ceremony Oct. 20, in the Couper Administration Building.
“This is a wonderful moment because this University is profoundly international and is academically and culturally involved with the Republic of Korea in many, many ways,” Magrath said. “Korean Studies is a critical part of what we do. Our programs here are enormously strengthened by the support that AKS gives.”
The grant will help support research, education and international exchange in areas of Korean Studies.
“I’m greatly honored to be here with such a respected president as Peter Magrath,” said Chung, who later attended a luncheon with University leaders and toured the campus. “The Academy of Korean Studies is trying to help the young generation be educated about Korean Studies and do research in Korean-related subjects.”
Chung added that Binghamton University will serve as a “cornerstone” and a Northeast base for Korean Studies.
Binghamton was one of six universities to receive the OLUPKS grant this year. The others are the University of Michigan, University of Washington, University of Vienna, Australian National University and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
Binghamton also is only one of seven U.S. schools to receive the grant since 2006. USC received the grant in 2009, while UC-Berkeley and Harvard were selected in 2007. International universities in China, France, Russia, Austria, Germany and Canada also have received AKS funding.
“I want to congratulate Harvard – they are in good company with Binghamton University,” Magrath said. “I’m joking, but the truth is that we care about Korea, we care about education and we do it well.”
The grant will specifically be used to create two faculty and three staff positions for Korean Studies, said Sungdai Cho, director of the University’s Center for Korean Studies and an associate professor of Asian and Asian American Studies. The grant will also help in the publication of seven Korean Studies books, Cho said.
“This grant is another stepping stone for getting more grants, not only from Korea, but the American government, as well,” Cho said. “At the same time, we build an infrastructure for a stronger Korean Studies program.”
The Academy of Korean Studies was established in 1978 to revitalize Korean Studies through research and education. It has compiled and distributed reference works, translated and published Korean classics, digitalized academic information and has overseen projects to help the international community understand Korean culture.
Both Binghamton University and the Academy of Korean Studies are interested in “educational collaborations and linkages,” Magrath said.
“The American relationships with Korea are very deep and very strong,” he said. “We have a mutual, vested interest in understanding each other, working together and collaborating educationally and economically. That’s part of what AKS is about and part of what Binghamton University is about. It’s about strengthening ties and understanding each other through education.”